Getting ready for our medical mission to Kenya

Canadian Nurses for Africa has been working all summer to get ready for our medical mission to Kenya in April-May of 2011. We will be asking for your support again this year. Every dollar you give us for this mission will make a huge difference in another person's life. Never will so little, buy so much, and do so much good. Please sign on a blog follower so you can follow our progress this year.

Continue ReadingGetting ready for our medical mission to Kenya

The End of the Journey

Our mission ended on Sunday May 9, 2010. Sunday evening was spent organizing our leftover medication and trying to find someone who would store it for us until next year. Just as we were leaving the guest house on Monday morning, loaded down with our suitcases (some empty now), we were met by a church group from the Kakamega slums. They presented each of us with an African purse and African cloth. They wound the cloth around us and along with their thanks and hugs, we left Kakamega for the last time. We stopped at the 2 pharmacies who had benefited from us this year, and they both gave refunds for the leftover medications. This will be a help for next year.It took 12 hours to travel to Nairobi, which included a quick boat ride on Lake Victoria to see the hippos. The road hadn't changed since our initial journey, and the Toyota van still operated with no dials and limited shock absorbers. We had two windshield wipers though, one attached to the vehicle and the other lay on the dash. The day gave us rain, sunshine and dense fog.The 12 hours in the van gave a lot of opportunity for conversation. We treated a…

Continue ReadingThe End of the Journey

Saturday May 8, 2010

Saturday May 8, 2010Today we left the guest house just after 8a, picked up meds and headed out to our clinic which was held at a Quaker Church. Registration was outside with triage, the doctor's rooms and the medication room inside. We treated 621 people today, a record. It was only through a great effort by everyone that we managed to process so many people. The patients appeared to have a little more than many of the patients were have helped recently. The helpers were had yesterday came of their own accord to help us today. With their experience with registration and crowd control. the clinic went much smoother. The patients panic thinking they won't get through the clinic and the crowding can become daunting to say the least. Another first is we treated everyone who was in line by 4p. Again I saw 7 year old children at the clinic by themselves and others near that age bringing along their siblings.At closing today, we were helped by a downpour of rain which slowed the crowds. There is always someone who comes late and wants to be treated but no children were left behind. It was satisfying. Trish and Lynn ate dinner then headed to…

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Sunday May 9, 2010

Sunday May 9, 2010Happpy Mothers Day to our followers and our nurses. Today was our last clinic. We treated 473 poeple today. One little girl had a fever so high, we were still talking about her at breakfast. She was treated immediately. Our clinical adventure started with the drive to the clinic. We had to take a dirt road that shook the van so hard, some of us may have to visit our dentists when we get home to check if our fillings are still seated. The road was red clay and very steep. It was the type of road that if it rained.....mmmm.When we arrived at the clinic, there was no one waiting for us to help set up except two boys about 12 years old. One of the buildings had bunkbeds in them and they were covered with blankets. It was obvious they were living there. A large building at the rear of the property was selected for the clinic, and by then some women had arrived. They swept the floor with branches; the boys brought in the old style writing tables, and we were set up. The crowds were all dressed up in their Sunday best, and I would guess they had…

Continue ReadingSunday May 9, 2010

Friday May 7, 2010

Another day is done and we treated 426 patients today. We started out this morning at 8a, picked up more medication, dropped off about 200 pairs of glasses at an eye glass clinic, several 100 lenses, and various eyeglass parts. We arrived at our clinic, which was situated near a school. We occupied what appeared to be a church at the front gate. We looked out and the majority of the school children (about 262) were in line for treatment of worms and ringworm. The line seemed to be endless. Everyone was barefoot and the uniforms were dirty and threadbare. We had a lot of infants today and small children. As usual, we were unable to complete the line up and once again had to deal with the upset. Gail went out into the crowd and brought in the infants, who were given treatment. There is so much need here; the end is never be in sight. But it does upset us as we wouldn't be here if we didn't care. Today, we transported two patients to hospital and paid their fees. I know I am repetitive, but thank you to all of you who made this possible.As I mentioned earlier, children do not smile…

Continue ReadingFriday May 7, 2010

Thursday May 6, 2010

Another day has finished. We managed to start earlier as the clinic was in Kakamega and so we finished earlier this afternoon. We were actually back at the guest house by 5p and now it is only 9:30p, a far cry from the 1:00a postings. Today we saw 430 patients. The people of Kakamega are as poor as the rural people only a little more sophisticated. We managed to hand out a few toys to the smallest of the children today before the clinic started, and the photos show the awe they have. They can not believe their eyes and it takes a moment before they realize that what they have is a toy. Their mothers smile and one little boy was sent back to say thank you, just like in Canada! Little children do not smile easily and it is very difficult to coax a smile from a 10 to 14 year old. The lack of hope in this country hangs like a fog.We saw more infants today than usual-so many babies with fevers, coughs, and abdominal complaints. When we finally closed the doors today, we managed to register all the babies that were left. The hardest part of this mission is to say…

Continue ReadingThursday May 6, 2010

Tuesday May 4 and Wednesday May 5, 2010

We managed to quickly post the blogs from the last few days, but there hasn't been time to tell you what our clinics have been like. On Monday, we set up a clinic (as mentioned previously mentioned which is the site of a new clinic and hospital. Today, Dr. Ottichilo, the Member of Parliament from this area, stated there had been eight such clinics set up in this constituency, but he has no staff to run them. The medical care isn't free and the cost of the drugs are unaffordable for the average Kenyan. There is no middle class in Kenya, only the very rich and the very poor. The unemployment rate is 80%, and the average worker makes $1.00 a day. The price of maize, a food staple, for a family of 4 to 5, is $2.00 a day, and the average mother has 6 to 8 children. It doesn't take a math degree to realize that someone is going hungry tonight.During our clinic yesterday, we saw 400 people. We drove for about an hour over the roughest roads I have ever experienced. Canadian potholes take a backseat to the continual pounding the passengers and our Toyota van took. We worked at a local…

Continue ReadingTuesday May 4 and Wednesday May 5, 2010

Wednesday May 5, 2010

We are purchasing new meds and have found a cyber cafe. The keyboards letters are worn off so excuse errors. We are all fine and have been working very hard with very full days. We are ending the day with the toys you have donatd. So many smiling faces, so many children with so little. Thank you to the donation of sanitary pads and baby blankets. The women are overjoyed. We must get more people making the pads.Must go. Will post again when possible.

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Monday May 3, 2010

7:00 am this morning saw us all up and ready for breakfast. We left the guest house later than expected as time doesn't seem to be as important to the Kenyans as it is to Canadians. We arrived at Emusire, the site of a hospital and medical clinic, which is about to open. The government officials were present and proceeded to take as much credit for the clinic as was possible. We had a large banner stating Canadian Nurses For Africa. At one point, we paused registration of the 400 people who were present when we arrived to watch the governor of this province cut a blue ribbon, and shake hands with us in the presence of television sets. Right now as I write this, I have four to six young children sitting beside me, and one little girl named Euice Kageha reads English as quickly as I write it. She is bright as a button and one day, I believe she will be very special to this country.This was day one of our medical mission. We treated about 300 men, women and children. The majority of them were very ill, with malaria and malnutrition being the main diseases. The line ups were long and…

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Sunday May 2,2010

We have been travelling since Friday afternoon, although we are now at the Sheywe Guest House in Kakamaga. On Saturday night, we arrived in Nairobi at 10:00 pm. After considerable delay, six out of the eight of us were re-united. It took awhile to get the10 bags (to date), and eight persons, including Aggrey and our driver, into the van. About 45 minutes later, we arrived at the Rosa Mystica Spiritual Centre for a night's lodging. It is a very simple place, but clean and very quiet. For those of you with a Catholic experience, looking up at the transomed windows and sleeping on very firm mattresses, brought back memories of youth.Morning came with a good breakfast and our last two nurses picked up from the airport. We left Nairobi at 10:30 am after trying to defeat the laws of nature, ie: two objects can not occupy the same space at the same time. Our rented Toyota van has a year or two on me, but with ingenuity,14 seats, 10 persons and roof rack, we left the city and headed west toward Kakamaga. Our 12 hour trip to this huge city, the third largest in Kenya, consisted of stops to see roadside baboons, zebra, and…

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Friday April 30, 2010

Today started with excitement and has yet to end. Our adventure was to start in Africa, but instead it started at the airport. KLM had made a flight adjustment and three of us were headed to London on British Airways, another with Air Canada and the other four to Amsterdam as originally scheduled. After long delays and much anxiety, four of us are still headed to London, but all on the same flight, and the other four to Amsterdam. After we checked our 18 bags of luggage, we stood in security line ups that felt like for ever. I wondered at the time if the lack of fresh air in that area added to security in a way I didn't understand. We finally met up as a group in a small eating establishment. Trish, Blanca, Sherry and Lynn were on the KLM flight, which left two hours earlier than ours. We know they made their flight because the airline finally quit calling their names over the loud speakers. Every one ended up happy: the nurses finished their meals and the plane departed on time. Of course, everyone knows that nurses handle emergency situations in a calm timely manner, so really KLM, what was the problem?Gail,…

Continue ReadingFriday April 30, 2010

Packing up

Last Monday evening, everyone gathered to distribute the numerous donated items among themselves. Everyone will be bringing two suitcases filled with items. It sounds as if KLM will be defraying the luggage maximum weight limit for this mission, of which we are very grateful. We want to take as many items as possible. In this picture, is Gail and Aggrey, who may look as if they have little to do, but in actuality, are ahead of everyone else with their work already completed. Our deepest thanks to these two individuals, who have been instrumental in making this mission happen. Just three days left or as they say 'four sleeps' until we leave.

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Monday April 19, 2010

Yesterday, the nursing group got together to iron out last minute details. This is the last of numerous meetings that have dealt with fundraising, collections of medical supplies and the numerous logistics of taking such a trip. Each volunteer has had to arrange suitable time off work, ensure passports are current, apply for a visa, get proper immunizations, fund raise, and pack suitcases for oneself and to carry a maximum amount of goods. I want you to get to know us. Gail Wolters, our mission leader, is the founder of this organization. It all started with a fundraiser she organized for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Through this initiative, she met Aggrey Mulamba, a nurse from Kenya, now living in Canada. He has maintained strong ties to Kenya and has turned his family home into an orphanage and assists a group of Aids widows and widowers. He was very open to the idea of a medical mission and mobilized his contacts, Kenyan nurses, politicians, and family members, all of whom share his passion to help. Without his assistance, Canadian Nurses for Africa wouldn't have been able to work in a safe or effective environment. The mission partners with local nurses. Last year, we put on eight…

Continue ReadingMonday April 19, 2010